A Divine Female

I want to share a story I recently came across concerning Inanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess of both love and war, connected to Venus, known as the Queen of Heaven, celebrated and honored as a powerful deity.

Inanna went to visit her sister, who ruled the underworld. Before she went, she instructed her servant to contact the gods if she hadn’t returned by the third day because anyone who entered the underworld wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Wearing an elaborate outfit, Inanna descended.

She passed through seven gates in the underworld, all of which had been ordered closed and locked by her sister. At each gate, Inanna was forced to give up a part of her outfit until she finally stood before her sister naked and powerless. She still made her sister get off the throne so she could sit, but judgment was passed against her. Inanna was sentenced to death and hung on a hook.

Three days passed and her servant appealed to the gods. At first, they refused to help, knowing Inanna had brought about her own punishment but the god of creation and magic was troubled by the occurrence and agreed to help. He created two figures to collect Inanna’s body. Her sister was in agony, willing to trade anything to gain respite. The two take Inanna’s corpse and sprinkle the food of life onto it, resurrecting her.

Creatures are sent by the queen of the underworld to take someone in Inanna’s place. Inanna will not let them take her loyal servant and friends, because they had mourned her. However, her husband had not, entertaining other women while she was believed to be dead, and so she let them take him in her place.

Inanna’s sister-in-law pleads on behalf of her brother and is able to take his place for half the year in the underworld, thereby giving rise to the seasons.

~

This is one of the oldest recorded myths. You will notice the themes of descent into the underworld, death and resurrection. In three days, no less. Food of life…Seasons changing. I’m sure you’ll also notice how these particulars themes carry on throughout other cultures’ mythologies, first among female deities (Persephone, for example) and then to males (like Jesus.)

I don’t particularly care what you believe, I just think it’s interesting that a common myth begins with a goddess, and yet, so many have never even heard of her. A woman who lost her power, was trapped in a world with no light or life, but brought back and resurrected to retake her throne.

Would that womankind did the same.

In recent days, we have, again, been bombarded by the fact that many men still hold no respect for women. We have seen rapists and molesters in powerful positions come to light and we have seen rapists and molesters put into powerful positions against all commonsense. We are losing girls to the sex trade, taken as they walk home from school, snatched off the street and seduced on the internet. The stories go on and on, memes, hashtags and movements abound, but still it seems like so many are swimming against the current, and so many are deliberately pretending to an obtuseness that can’t possibly be genuine.

It wasn’t always like this. A long, long time ago, women were venerated, respected, loved and cared for. They were the leaders of their families and of society. Lineage and authority were traced through the mother’s line because she knew who her children were, while men had to take her word for it. She wasn’t called vile names for knowing the worth of her own body, nor was she vilified for celebrating all the things her body could do.

She held power over her own self, her own actions and her own future.

I’m a traditionalist in the sense that I think society as a whole should revert back to ancient traditions concerning power roles. Essentially, to my view, women were meant to lead because we are the caretakers and men were meant to protect, following their leaders’ directives, because they are physically stronger. Somewhere in humankind’s past, men took over the power—and don’t argue because this is well-accepted history. For the past several thousand years, men have controlled ‘civilization’ and they’ve been running it into the ground.

Because they aren’t natural caretakers. They are natural protectors, but what they’ve been protecting are resources, money, institutions that guarantee them more power. Women tend to care more about people, the elderly, the downtrodden, the children. Society.

Yes, I know that’s overly simplistic and there will always be exceptions to the rule, but it seems to me that the way people are viewing the world these days, it’s best not to complicate the message.

I think it’s time the women got another shot at leadership. I think it’s time we started looking into our own history and mythology, so much of which has never been written down because history has been preserved by men. So many truly important deities were depicted as women, in both love and war, hearth and home, travels, life and death. And justice, most especially justice. Interesting, right?

I think women should step up and show their strength, and I think that’s happening right now.

A Must Read Trilogy

So, I saw a book and the description looked more interesting than anything I’ve seen in a long time in the world of paranormal romance, and coming from a new-to-me author. I’ve been more inclined to reread old favorites in my favorite genre than I have been to seek out new stories. I’m just as weary of trying to read stories I don’t like as every other reader out there…

But I saw this one and I decided to sign up for a review copy. I guess I’m a sadist in a way, and once I did sign up there was no going back. Then I realized it was a trilogy, and I’d just signed up for the third.

Praying hard, I found the first two books. Their descriptions looked interesting, too.  Then I saw the author was from Baltimore, Maryland, my hometown. Gotta support my fellow Maryland writers, especially when they’re writing my favorite genre, the genre I write.

N.D. Jones must be my storytelling soul mate. What I love, she wrote about. Concepts I use, she used too. And, praise all that’s holy, her books were amazing. I loved them all and once I started reading, I didn’t stop until they were finished. The Death and Destiny Trilogy is a must read for anyone who loves paranormal romance.

Of Fear and Faith

It’s been a while since I read a paranormal romance by a new-to-me author that I enjoyed this much. N.D. Jones wrote a fantastic story that sweeps you up and bowls you along. Her characters have depth, they’re relatable. You root for them, cheer their triumphs and wince when they show you just how ‘human’ they can be. She also shows you just how enduring and entertaining classic concepts can be in the right hands.

My only ‘criticism’ of this story was that she’d written a clear resolution, the conflict had been resolved…but the story kept going on, down a different path that later proves valuable to the series, but not that particular book. It felt unconnected from what had come before. I wondered if it had been meant to be a short story between Book 1 and Book 2, and so that’s how I viewed it. Bonus story! So, not really a criticism at all, in that light.

I sat down to read this entire series because, for the first time in a while, my interest was caught by a paranormal romance’s book description. I’m so glad I did. I devoured this series, barely coming up for air, doing little else until I’d read them all. This trilogy is going on my To-Be-Read-Again pile, and I’ll be watching for other books by N.D. Jones.

Of Beasts and Bonds

The whole story is well done—the whole trilogy for that matter. I love that the two main characters are revealing themselves to each other bit by bit, and that both their magic are developing in tandem. I love the intricate and rich relationships both main characters enjoy, giving a sense of the deep roots they have and what they have to lose. Technically, when the time comes, they will fight for the world, for a goddess, but you know they’re really fighting for their circle of friends and family and I think it’s fantastic that the extended characters are also developed enough to make us feel their connections.

I was fully immersed in the world of witches and were-cats when I began this story. N.D. Jones has crafted a trilogy that swept me up and carried me on. I went from finishing Book 1 to beginning Book 2 in the space of minutes, so I will say that the devil’s in the details, and there are many details in the second book, not all of them necessary and not all of them felt consistent. Nothing major, however, and it was easy to lose myself in the pages.

I am so glad I found this trilogy. It’s been too long since I enjoyed a paranormal romance from a new-to-me author, and I’d forgotten how exciting it is to find a gifted storyteller who writes stories you want to read again and again.

 Of Deception and Divinity

This book is nearly non-stop action. From paranormal battles to emotional upheavals, I couldn’t put this one down until I was finished—and that’s saying something considering how avidly I devoured the previous two books in the trilogy.

As the title implies, this book is the one where lies are revealed. N.D. Jones does a fantastic job of balancing the past influences on our main characters with their present day fears, failures, achievements and love. In fact, she makes the reader feel the love between Assefa and Sanura in a way that’s real, lasting…and threatened, so that you end up holding your breath in the hopes that they will find victory, which isn’t guaranteed.

All bonds are tested—friends, families, mates and familiars. Sanura’s character is a better woman than I am, because she proves herself much more forgiving than me, and more quickly forgiving at that. Assefa’s personal demons must be faced, and while I think the premise for his long absence from his witch a bit thin, it still holds merit considering his character’s fears, and I appreciate that he was the one that set about his own healing once he realized what he had to lose. Oddly enough I’m much more forgiving of the water witch of legend than the cat of legend, primarily because her inner conflict is completely understandable to me, but my disappointment in the one only emphasizes how ‘real’ these characters have been crafted to be.

One extremely minor ‘criticism’ for the formatting of this story. Near the end, the author inserts images in order to illustrate her vision. I’d have preferred the images to be in an appendix of some sort, and for her to have trusted her readers to create their own image, and to trust her own words, which were fluid and descriptive and more than good enough to convey the vision she wanted.

Romances have a happy ending. I wasn’t certain if this one would—there were several ways this story could have ended, including the continuation of the series into ‘the next generation’. It’s a testament to Ms. Jones’ skill that I was so worried for the outcome of her characters and, until it happened, I couldn’t be sure just what would happen.

Ms. Jones is taking the secondary characters of this book and creating stories for them, too. I will be the first in line to buy those books. If you enjoy paranormal romance as much as I do, you will not want to miss the Death and Destiny trilogy.

You can find the promotional post for N.D. Jones here.

What’s a Writer to Write About?

I’ve been wracking my brains for blog post topics. It’s harder than you might think and I’m really trying to be consistent with this idea now. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered I’m not very good at sharing my thoughts, not very good at conveying advice in a timeframe that might encourage people to look forward to a certain day. I’m not a blogger.

What can an author write about? Writing, which seems boring. Maybe some paranormal creatures, which is an interesting approach, I suppose. I do that sometimes. We’re not going to write about the plots spinning in our minds because we tend to be a paranoid breed and we don’t want others to write our story before we can.

With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been trying to figure out what to write that wasn’t political nature. That’s turning out to be harder than ever. There’s so much happening, so much destruction from nature and human nature both, so many bad decisions being made, so many people moving away from compassion and empathy, so many damned trolls on a variety of comment boards. In fact, some of these trolls—I can’t help but think—don’t even believe the bullshit they write, but I also think they’re tempting fate by writing it anyway.

What comes around goes around, and that’s a karmic law we’ve all seemed to have forgotten. It’s part of the golden rule of every religion—do unto others… That’s the gist, anyway.

I wonder if people stop to ask ‘why’ anymore. Why do you believe what you believe, why do you feel the way you do, why do you think whatever you think. How many of the thoughts and comments you repeat are really yours? And why can’t you see from the other’s point of view? Is it really so threatening to take pause and examine more closely? Just thinking about something doesn’t imply agreement of, or support for, that idea…

Maybe it just affords us a moment to remember that the other person is human too.

This came through my Tumblr the other day. Maybe there is something to this. Maybe, through all these natural disasters, all the strikes against humanity via terrorism, lone wolf gunmen or everyday assaults against compassion and understanding, we’re building a common, hidden thread of weariness that suggests enough is enough, and it’s time to be people again. It’s time to remember that everyone else is people, too.

To have and to hold…

Today I’m interested in the Fourth Amendment.

Search and Seizure. Essentially, this amendment guarantees every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their lives, property, businesses, etc. This is why the police and government agencies need warrants to look deeper when they suspect you’ve committed some crime or infraction. This is why it’s illegal to pull someone over for no good reason and search the trunk of their car, or their pockets. It’s why police can’t just barge into your house, why they can’t stop and frisk young black men for simply walking down the street. It’s why the government can’t fly drones over your corn field looking for your hidden marijuana plants or tap your phone or read your emails. Social media is not included…

This Amendment doesn’t get as much press as the First or Second, and do you even know what the Third is? (Quartering soldiers. Britain used to make people house the military at their own expense. Way to save on the military budget, right?) Anyway, the Fourth is very important, so while 1 and 2 have their rabid battles, the Fourth is quietly doing the heavy lifting of protecting the citizens of this country.

While everyone was distracted, it came under fire.

Most notably, the Fourth has been undermined by Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Arpaio. According to the Washingtom Post (just to name a source, but it’s validated by other news organizations) a federal judge ordered Arpaio to stop detaining people who were not suspected of actual criminal activity.

Essentially, Arpaio disregarded court orders and targeted people he thought specifically fit a stereotype in his region of what an ‘illegal immigrant’ was. Cough, cough…’Mexicans’…

For the record, being in this country, even without documentation, isn’t illegal—which I know will be a shocker for so many to learn. Undocumented residence in this country is a civil violation. It’s on the same level as not paying child support—which may, depending upon state rules, result in a stay in jail, but isn’t something that would go on your record or even cause deportation (shock!). Jaywalking is a crime, living somewhere isn’t.

Side note to create empathy: let’s say you’re a white man. Let’s pretend that being in the KKK, while not a crime, will get you fined for some civil violation. Maybe…I don’t know…it’s against your town’s decency standards, or something. So, Sheriff Someone goes looking for KKK members, but he starts stopping every white man he comes across because, let’s face it, nobody else is joining the group, right? But you got stopped, just because you were white… You’re not part of the group, would never be part of the group, but you still got stopped, frisked for any potential burning crosses, strip searched and checked out for swastika tattoos and then your home was also ransacked—and God help you if your sheets are white, yeah?

Is that fair? No. No, it’s not fair because you were just walking across the Walmart parking lot, minding your own business with no discernible tattoos or political/religious affiliations. Still, you fit the stereotype and so you were stopped. Wow, that must be infuriating…and illegal.

But Sheriff Someone was given a free pass, not only setting a precedent that other sheriffs in other towns may follow, but creating a boisterous, though small, group of supporters for Sheriff Someone’s policies regarding this terrible, indecent nuisance. Yes? So what happens when the town council decides it’s indecent for men to wear socks with sandals, which is your favorite thing to do? Or for residents to eat anything other than locally-grown fair trade organic produce but you’re allergic to spinach and only eat meat? With me so far? Maybe….?

Well, here’s another example, then. According to the NY Post, among others, Trump’s lawyers have asked Facebook for private information concerning private individuals who have ‘liked’ anti-Trump pages. Like the rest of America, I take news these days with a grain of salt and look for multiple sources to validate whatever claims are made. This is not making waves, so do your research, butI believe this case to be true, especially given this Administration’s history with these things.

What history? Demanding voter information, for one example. Some of what they wanted was public knowledge, or for sale through the State, but other requested data was inessential to what they were looking for. So what will they really use it for? What does this particular, and unpopular/authoritarian-leaning, administration want with the information that previous administrations didn’t feel the need to waste money on? We blame Trump’s narcissism, he needs to prove those other 3 million votes were illegally cast, but there could be a darker purpose.

Like, oh, I don’t know, rounding up critics and those opposed to the sweeping and oft-times detrimental policy changes being enacted upon us. Puts that Facebook thing into a different light, looking at it from that perspective, right? How…Orwellian. I suggest you read some, in fact.

They’ve got the ‘average’ American hoodwinked, too. They (a particular set of media/politicians/ideologues) challenge your natural reaction to giving up your privacy. You shy away, you have a funny resistance to it… But they say, what do you have to hide? You’re a good American, a patriot, don’t you want to help…

But you’re helping the downfall of your own Constitution. Every time you say, sure you can look at my corn field on camera, sure that phone could be tapped, of course they should give up their emails…what do they have to hide? You are undermining the very hard-working Fourth Amendment, and you might not care so much about it right now, but just wait till it’s gone. This one, above all, is the very concept that truly stands between freedom and totalitarianism.

Laws can be changed, and in this political climate there is no guarantee that you’ll know beforehand. You could let the police into your house thinking to be helpful, and, in certain towns, if they spy your dildo, you can be charged. If they use the bathroom, without search and seizure restrictions they can open your medicine cabinet and poke around…What do you have in there? Did you dispose of any leftover medications legally and properly?

The wholesale removal of rights would cause an uproar among us all, but a little bit here and there…and what does it matter of you’ve done ‘nothing’ wrong…

There are a myriad of small infractions a lot of us commit every day, and the Fourth keeps our little, mostly innocuous secrets safe. So be a good citizen, pay attention, and protect your privacy however you can.

That’s my bone to pick…

You won’t always agree, and that’s okay. I’d still love to hear your comments, so long as you can manage to keep yourself respectful, because we all deserve a little dignity. Be human, you know? I’m not a liberal and I’m not a conservative. I believe the best path lies in the middle and the truth takes participation from both sides. I also believe we’re on a dangerous, slippery slope because a lot of sides of a lot of issues aren’t listening to anyone else.

Nobody is always entirely right…

 

 

Monday Morning I want my Quarterbacks

So, for a while now, I’ve been threatening to get my rant on. For the most part, I’ve wanted to keep my politics separate from my business because we all know how how fast a business goes up in flames when you voice an opinion that somebody is bound to disagree with…

Which is, ultimately, why I decided to start up this section, entitled My Bone to Pick. My opinion, my perspective, and we all know that, in this day and age, perspective IS reality, no matter if that perspective is right or wrong, true or false, yes?

I’m not a coward. My business doesn’t mean more to me than speaking out for the right things. And why should everybody else get to have their say and not me?

So, the topic du jour this Monday, September 25th, 2017: Who took a knee at the football game?

Oh, let me rephrase that: Who cares who took a knee at the football game while North Korea declares (potentially nuclear) war on the United States of America?

Y’all are so worried about your favorite player having an opinion different than yours that you’ve ignored the real threat to your freedoms and safety. Squabbling amongst ourselves is going to get much more difficult to do when we’re all choking on toxic radiation. And you were so concerned about Zika…and Ebola…wait till you get a load of what’s coming.

Hold on, though. I promised an opinion, right?

My opinion is, #takeaknee. Quite frankly, I think Kap was lazy, didn’t feel like standing up, got called out on it and came up with a brilliant protest on the fly. (So, good job, there, man.) Now that there’s something to kneel for though, I’m down with it. Since when is kneeling disrespectful? Don’t you kneel before God (because, let’s just call a stereotypical spade a stereotypical spade and posit the theory that Good Christians are the ones with the strongest Anti-Knee opinion, mmm-kay?).

They shouldn’t do it on their team owner’s time? Maybe the owner doesn’t mind. Maybe, in fact, the owner agrees with the protest. After all, he sees the value in the men of color on his team, right? He doesn’t just appreciate the white players. The owner sees their achievements, their skills and, in many cases, their humanitarian efforts. And yet, so many people in the communities these men have come from, who may even share similar value, efforts and achievements, don’t have the same opportunities…and they don’t have the same freedoms. Maybe rectifying that is a fight the owners believe in and support.

Sure, you have the right to not watch, tear up your ticket, write the Commissioner (because I’m sure he’s personally reading your letter, uh-huh, I’m positive). Or, you could just sing the anthem louder. (You do know the words right? ‘Cause, if not, that’s disrespectful, you know?) They only kneel for the length of the first verse, so, maybe you could just handle yourself until the game starts?

Maybe, while you put your hand over your heart and honor those who fought and died for your country and your Constitution, you could also spare a minute’s contemplation for the men and women who have served to protect freedoms they didn’t, and still don’t, have.

And if you’re feeling moved by any amount of Christian sentiment, any molecule of empathy for your fellow Americans, those who put their lives on the line so you could argue about non-harmful, peaceful events that took place in the last five minutes of a pre-game ritual, perhaps you, too, will be driven to your knees so you can pray that all people of your homeland, all members of what essentially amounts to being your tribe, may one day share the same equality and justice that you have.

That’s my bone to pick…

You won’t always agree, and that’s okay. I’d still love to hear your comments, so long as you can manage to keep yourself respectful, because we all deserve a little dignity. Be human, you know? I’m not a liberal and I’m not a conservative. I believe the best path lies in the middle and the truth takes participation from both sides. I also believe we’re on a dangerous, slippery slope because a lot of sides of a lot of issues aren’t listening to anyone else.

Nobody is always entirely right…

This witching season, try something new…

 

I decided to help readers out a bit (and hopefully I don’t get in trouble for it). Now you can read the whole first chapter of each book in the Magic Matched series to decide whether or not the story might be for you. If it looks intriguing, you can also download a FREE, three chapter preview of Betrothed, the first book in the series, on Instafreebie.

I get it. Trying a new author these days is an ordeal. Even if the books are free, do you really want to waste your time if the story is awful or doesn’t resonate. I go through this too, when I find a new book by a new author. It helps when you can preview and get a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into…

And just to toot my own horn a bit, I’ve been told by many people that my series surprised them. Many readers loved it, they all think it just gets better and better, that the suspense is perfectly balanced with the romance…

“Fast-paced with a complex backstory, it’s like you’re reading the Game of Thrones for witches!”

“Once I started reading I was instantly hooked!”

“The love scenes were excellent, quite possibly some of the best I’ve read in a while. Its intelligent paranormal erotic writing and I love that. Combine that, with suspense and some turmoil, and I am hooked.”


Don’t take their word for it though. Try it for yourself.

In witching society, there is a strict hierarchy, Family covens are ruled by Mothers or Fathers who hold the bulk of their bloodline’s power and archaic rules are enforced, disregarding modern sentiments. Magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold must learn to open their hearts to each other in order to unlock their full magical potential. But with all that stands in their way – archaic traditions, murder plots, and a betrayal that threatens all they can be – they will need the group of allies they have built to help them navigate the dangerous world of witches, and the dark magic stalking them every step of the way.

Foxes, Bookstores and Getting Organized…

Foxes, Bookstores and Getting Organized…

What do they have in common? Me. That’s about all.

I’ve had a pretty hard summer, to be honest. If I was really honest, I’d admit to having a rough decade but, looking back, I feel like it wasn’t too bad. Sure, I cried rivers, came down with a mysterious illness doctors still can’t diagnose, developed anxiety and depression and a bit of an OCD tic where I repeat words and sentences to myself (thankfully not out loud), I’ve gone from one job to another, been stymied in my dreams, my ambition held back by old men and I’ve broken up with my oldest friend who felt I wasn’t worth the truth anymore—though I was worth asking for that loan…

Anyway.

I look back and think it wasn’t so bad, but that’s only because I came out stronger. It’s amazing how your perception changes over time. Hell, even just the other day I cried, but, listening to other people’s stories I consider myself lucky and blessed and I think they have had a harder time than I…Except maybe they didn’t.

Emotions, motivation, aimlessness, sickness, death…blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been trying to open a bookstore. It’s nearing the time I’d wanted to be open, and I haven’t heard from my lawyer in a month, I’m not a legal entity yet and the place I wanted was sold out from under me by a suspiciously-resistant-to-selling realtor who likes to stand entirely too close to women in basements. The new place I looked at is oddly perfect…except the left front corner of the foundation is sinking and since I pointed that out, I haven’t heard back from that realtor.

No one is talking to me.

Except the universe.

My father always pokes a bit of fun at my term ‘the universe.’ I use it in place of ‘God’ which means my mother and grandmother just call me a heathen. Mmm, for the record, pagan, yes, but not heathen.

Strap yourselves in for some mysticism.

The universe speaks to me through insects—because who doesn’t love creepy crawlies, yeah? Scores of dragonflies and the occasional butterfly, a multitude of ladybugs and moths, sometimes a cricket and rarely a katydid. Ants and spiders, earwigs and silverfish, centipedes and caterpillars…sometimes a waterbug which I’d prefer not to get, and yet, the signs are there and I see them and understand. They really do tell me what’s coming or what to focus on.

So, imagine my surprise when the bugs stopped and the foxes started. Sometimes there were birds, so it wasn’t just me and the creepy crawlies, but believe me when I say the foxes got my attention as nothing else had. They’re so different from what came before.

And I live in a city (well, at the edge). Yes, foxes and even coyotes are everywhere in the US, but you don’t normally hear them calling out in an urban environment.

A fox has been waking me in the night, screaming—but it’s not mating season, so I don’t know what she’s looking for. I feel like she’s telling me to wake up, which fits with the theme of the random bugs and birds that have been knocking on my window all summer long. The day after I first heard the fox, I met two separate people wearing fox shirts. After that, two more fox shirts, a slew of new people named Fox have come to my attention, fox emblems, charms, quotes from people named fox showing up on social media…Foxes have taken over my awareness. It’s  only been a week and a half. Before you start sputtering about coincidence or seeing what I’m paying attention to, this is a very high amount of ‘fox encounters’.

So I looked them up. And there are a lot of truths that have slammed into my face as I did so. Now, in case you haven’t noticed from above, I’m closer to following pagan traditions than anything else, though I was raised Christian—specifically Lutheran. But, I also have a degree in world religions (and politics) so I understand a little bit about a lot of things. I can tell you now that no one has all the answers, and maybe one day I’ll share my theory of the Christian story concerning the Tower of Babel.

For now, let me just say that there are truths and messages coming to me on an urgent tide. Let me also give you a warning. I’ve separated my religion and my politics from my business. Writing books is my business. But I feel like spreading my truth. Like the fox, which can symbolize teaching, guidance, patience (and mischievousness, tricks and definitely intelligence) I’m ready to call out and wake someone up. Foxes have long been linked to camouflage, blending in when necessary, but, also, they know when to leap.

I’ve been hiding and I’ve been hidden. I contorted my life so as not to outshine the people around me, but I’m tired of that. I’m tired of waiting, I’m tired of others holding me back because somehow they’ve gained more influence over my life than I have, and I’m tired of biting my tongue so that my truth doesn’t offend.

But, you know what? This is my real estate. I’ve gotten my house in order and I’ve rearranged this website, hence the ‘organization’ part of the title. I’m ready to move into the next phase of my life, ready to step into my future and I pray it’s better than what I just went through.

I hope you’ll stick around and read what I’ve got to share. I hope you’ll take a look at my books and head over to my new webstore to see if there’s something you like, but if you can’t respect my opinion and my right to voice my opinion, then you may go immediately.

And to all the people personally in my life, it’s my turn now.

 

Realty Rant- Why is this old man blocking me?

So here’s just a little rant (these will be coming with more frequency because I’m tired of being the one who bites her tongue). Older men are making my future quite difficult right now. I’m in the process of opening a community center/bookstore-café, awesome ideas are filling me with excitement, people are telling me they can’t wait, my neighborhood is stoked…

logo

…and I don’t even have a building yet because my lawyer is dragging his feet, another guy doesn’t listen very well and so keeps asking for official government/legislature answers to questions I never asked and don’t need to know for my business, and a realtor is ridiculously stubborn and apparently set against me renting the building.

I have no idea why these delays are happening. I was supposed to have the legal stuff all set up by the end of July, and moving into the building by the end of August. Grand Opening at the end of September near my birthday. I’ve been working on this since February and got massive amounts done on my own then hit the part where I needed help for the rest of the way.

It literally took 5 accountants before one called me back…meanwhile, I had loan offers from 4 banks. How fucking backward can we get? And now I’m told the building I’ve been trying to view again, after twice telling the realtor I wanted to send him a letter of intent—and he told me he would write it? WTF? Okay, whatever. My lawyer and accountant said if he wants to write it, let him. But now the realtor says he’s got a ‘bona fide’ letter of intent and the owners are considering it and I shouldn’t have waited so long…

Dickhead, you waited. Not me. Because you don’t want to rent me that space.

Unless he’s lying, thinking it will drum up my interest, which is equally annoying. The building’s been empty for 4 years, listed by 2 or 3 different realty companies…and suddenly in the past 6 months 7 different people are interested in buying it?

Whatever.

Listen, I’m superstitious, I’ll admit. I wasn’t going to consider this building after the initial showing, especially because I don’t like the realtor. Creepy vibes and all that. I felt unsafe with just him the building. But…then the universe kept shoving me back toward that place. Over and over, so I gave in and started pursuing it for real, and that’s when I hit all these realtor-made roadblocks.

I’m trusting in the universe. Either I get the building or I don’t. It’s either meant to be mine or it isn’t. We’ll see. I know I’ll geta  great place, the one I’m supposed to be in. But it’s still frustrating when other people block your progress, and more so when you were trucking along just fine on your own. It’s even more galling when a man keeps lying to you because he thinks that’s the best strategy…you don’t know me. I prefer honesty.

I also prefer when assholes get the fuck outta my way and let me do what I need. Thank you very much.

Of Frustration and Temptation by Lisabet Sarai

lisabet

Being an author is not for sissies. You pour your heart and soul into your stories. You spend hours of your scarce time and more money than you can afford on marketing. With each new release, you hope you’ll finally grab the attention of the book-buying crowd, that you’ll get the readership and the remuneration you deserve.

If that doesn’t happen (and given the number of people publishing books these days, odds are that it won’t), you’re stuck with the bitter knowledge that all your passion and effort were for nothing. This can be deeply demoralizing, even if you’re not trying to make your living as an author. If you depend on your writing to pay your bills, you’ve got financial anxiety added to your frustration.

I know this frustration only too well. My books receive consistent five star reviews, but somehow I’ve never been a commercial success. Thus, Damned If You Do is a rather personal story.

What would I do if I could magically turn my books into best sellers? How much would that be worth to me? That’s the question my romance author heroine faces when a mysterious stranger shows up waving a contract and promising her fame and fortune, sensual pleasure and the fulfillment of her most secret desires.

All he asks in return is her soul.

Crazy. Dangerous, maybe. But so, so tempting!

DamnedIfYouDo_400

 

Starving author Wendy Dennison signs a contract with a charismatic stranger, exchanging her soul and her body for fame and commercial success. When she discovers her mild mannered agent Dan has a dominant side, she’s forced to choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love.

 

5stars

 

My Review: 5 Stars

Wendy is an author struggling to get noticed and hit big. She makes a comment that we all make so often ‘I’d sell my soul for…’ You can fill in your own blank but, as an author, I can totally relate to Wendy’s wish for best seller status. Lo and behold, a gentleman makes her an offer, but not just the fame and fortune kind—he offers to master Wendy. That is, perhaps, even more tempting than the money and recognition combined.

I love Lisabet Sarai’s stories. They are so richly crafted, the characters so real. In this one, Wendy pores over the contract for her soul, negotiating like the pro every author needs to be. She drives a hard bargain, but in the process begins to lose herself and her autonomy. She does top the charts, however fame and fortune isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Damned if You Do is about more than just another Faustian bargain. The hope of every author is burned into the pages, the ambition, the fear and the unlikelihood of ever reaching the heights you’ve dreamed of. It’s also about counting the blessings you have already, appreciating them and enjoying them, rather than focusing all of your time and energy on one thing. And there’s sex—lots of steamy sex that will have you squirming in your seat, and a surprise Dom you can’t help but root for.

BUY LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Excessica

Goodreads

 

Giveaway!

I will be giving away three $10 bookstore gift certificates during my release blitz, and three free ebook copies of my BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. I will also give a $5 GC to a randomly selected host. The blitz ends June 1st.

To enter, readers must:

Sign up for my VIP email list:  https://signup.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

AND/OR:

Leave a comment with their email address on my release day announcement page:  http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2017/04/out-today-damned-if-you-do-bdsm-pnr.html

About Lisabet

LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

Unpublishing Queen Avis

avis 1

I jumped into the story too soon. I had an idea for a cuckquean serial and writing a chapter every week was fun, for a little while. But I didn’t do it right. I was disorganized, without a strong idea of what I was writing or how I would end it. Vague notions…

You live, you learn, right?

I’ve spent the past four months working on Avis. Nothing else has gotten done. Three stories have been halted and more story ideas are piling up. I’ve developed anxiety—some of it because of this book. It’s simply not right and I’ve been turning backflips trying to get it together to update what’s already out in the world.

I’ve ripped it apart three times and put it back together twice. I keep doing it wrong. I want to write a strong story, one that shows the emotional journey of Avis and delves into her psyche a bit. I’m not trying to justify or even rationalize her actions and desires, but I do want to touch on what she likes that might be unique to her (though I’m betting many others feel the same way).

Now I’m taking the fragments and redoing it for real. So, once again I have to let everyone know of delays with this book, and again, if you email me with your order information I’ll gift you a copy of the final version when I get it done. My apologies to everyone, but Avis deserves it, and so do my readers. I don’t want something that’s less than my vision demands out in the world mucking things up.

Casey at Night reads Levi

I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing, wonderful supportive people in this industry. One of those people is Casey Carter, the author of provocative, sexy stories such as The Encounter, John, Open House, Tribeca and Murder. Casey has begun a Periscope feature where she reads excerpts of stories from participating authors. I am now one of them. Casey was kind enough to read an excerpt from Levi, the first book in my series, The Garguiem.

You can watch her live reading on replay here.

Levi cover 2000x3000

 

The Garguiem are descendants of Fallen angels, those who were cast out for not choosing a side in the Heavenly War. As penance, they now fight evil and corruption, but a group of them led by Gargouille was recruited to protect the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages by the Archbisshop of Rouen. Churches under their protection were marked with gargoyles and grotesques to keep the lurking evil at bay.

Jump to modern times… Levi is asked to investigate demon activity in the St. Ambrose parish, where he meets Marcella. He knows she’s Garguiem like him, but she’s determined to be  a nun. Levi leads her down the path of temptation, which makes her a target of the very creature Levi is searching for…

This is excerpt Casey Carter read:

In the space of seventeen days, Marcella had gone from being an almost-nun with peace in her heart, to a woman tempted beyond all reason by a sexy, tattooed stranger.

Which is why she sat in the last pew of St. Ambrose, listening to Father Tom practice his homily instead of using her free time to finish some of the blankets she’d promised to knit for the homeless shelter. She felt Tom might have been speaking directly to her, for all the relevance his words held. He spoke of temptations of the flesh and how too many met their downfall through the frivolous pursuit of pleasure.

But his words went in one ear and out the other. Marcella’s thoughts were too full of other things, like gargoyles and angels, tattooed hands that held her close and kisses that set her on fire. A future far different from the one she’d imagined, filled with danger, fear and potential loss. Levi claimed she didn’t belong with the Sisters of Clemency of the Divine, but rather with him. Because she was Garguiem.

Marcella felt she was an ordinary woman, trying to live a peaceful, contemplative life in service to God through obedience and chastity. She was not a horny fighter of the demonic, no matter that she’d been pressed into service as Levi’s secretary. And no matter that Levi set her nerves tingling in a way she wasn’t sure she could handle.

What she felt wasn’t just lust for his body, which she was certain she could have ignored. It went so much deeper. The more time she spent with him, the more Marcella came to respect Levi. He was intelligent and honorable in his own way. He was a man of faith, though his faith didn’t resemble anything she was used to and he was generous—not just with her or those positioned in the church hierarchy, but with strangers, the homeless, people passing by on the street. He shook every hand offered to him no matter who it belonged to.

Levi trapped her in a confused world where her struggle to remain virtuous left her ashamed of her body’s interest in his. But needy of it. Desirous and curious, as her heart urged her on.

Soft footfalls sounded behind her. The church was closed and locked until evening Mass—unfortunate, but there were simply too many villains in the world to leave the church open as they’d done in years gone by. Still, she didn’t turn to look at who was approaching because Father Tom never paused in his speech. He gave a little wave and smiled, and that was enough to tell Marcella that Levi was about to intrude on her peace.

He sat next to her, but she knew he would. And when he sat entirely too close, the length of his leg pressed to hers and their shoulders overlapping, she wasn’t surprised. She’d been avoiding him since they’d kissed at the soup kitchen, but she knew she’d eventually have to face him again.

Just not in church. She tried to shuffle away, but his big hand caught her knee and held her still.

She lost her breath. Memories from the last time she’d felt the heat of his hand on her legs swamped her. Levi’s palm burned through her skirt and radiated all the way into Marcella’s calf. Tingles worked their way north, and though they stopped at her upper thighs, the sensation echoed far higher and made her heart pound. She gripped the crucifix around her neck and prayed for strength.

“Shh,” Levi whispered. “Easy.”

It was all well and good for him to give her the order, but he didn’t take his own advice. His fingers rubbed Marcella’s knee in slow circles, pressing hard enough that the fabric of her skirt didn’t mute his touch, but enhanced it. The texture of the material sliding against her skin as Levi massaged her knee seemed to feed into the heat of his hand and sent the fire in her nerves blazing higher.

Then his heat was on her directly, scorching her leg and singeing her lungs. Marcella choked on her gasp, wondering when he’d managed to gather her skirt until his fingers slipped under the hem and touched the space just above her knee cap. Skin-to-skin, electrifying. Dangerous.

She couldn’t move. Scandal, temptation and confusion waged war in her body. Marcella’s cheeks grew hot and she wondered if Father Tom could see how she stiffened, if he could judge Levi’s actions, hidden by the top of the pew in front of them, by the shade of red crawling down her neck. She held her eyes too wide as she stared at the priest and tried to pretend that nothing blasphemous was taking place inside her body.

But she didn’t stop Levi’s fingers from drifting higher. She didn’t know how to and didn’t know if she wanted to—she couldn’t seem to force her hand to cover his and make it be still because shockwaves were ripping through her. She was confused and disoriented, her thoughts sluggish in comparison to the physical sensations Levi heaped on her. They sat in church, listening to a sermon on the sins of sex outside the bonds of marriage, and Levi was bold enough to smooth his fingertips over her naked thigh.

Small circles grew bigger. Hard presses grew softer. The sensation of his skin sliding against Marcella’s became elusive, drawing her closer as her curiosity swelled. A moth to the flame, Marcella’s nerves strained to feel more. She wanted to know what came next and, as the minutes ticked by, she relaxed the set of her thighs. They parted slightly—enough to let Levi slip higher.

Oxygen grew scarce. She felt as if her breathing had become too loud, maybe even echoing all the way through St. Ambrose’s nave, though that could have just been the impression given by the dull throb in her ears. The flames of the candles wavered and Father Tom’s voice faltered, but Marcella knew it was all in her head because, from the corner of her eye, she could see that Levi paid a great deal of attention to the priest.

Marcella lost her fear and relaxed, letting Levi do what he would and trusting that he would protect her from Father Tom’s discovery. She felt safe enough to let her legs fall open. Secure enough to start appreciating the slow slide of fingers on the interior of her thighs, working higher, smoothing over the curves of her muscles. Reaching for her.

She realized then, in that instant, that she trusted the Garguiem completely.

Levi slipped her skirt up until it pooled over her lap. His fingers dipped under the fabric, just out of sight but so close to her heat that Marcella flinched and held her breath. Electricity snapped between her legs and she softened—deep inside she grew liquid and heavy. He ran a fingertip down the center of her underwear in a stroke so gentle, so delicious, that Marcella released the breath she’d held in a shaky rush, tensing so she didn’t give herself away with a violent shiver.

When Levi’s finger stroked down, the fabric of her underwear shifted and Marcella learned that she’d wet them through. Her body had flooded and Levi took advantage, pressing the rough cotton between her folds, adding a textured layer she couldn’t have predicted to his fondling. He made a wide circle and caught her clit in the stroke. Lust set off a flare in her lower belly and Marcella gritted her teeth, desperate to hold back her groan.

Levi’s breath left him on a quiet chuckle that drilled down into her stomach to mingle with the desire squeezing inside her. Marcella felt the sound might as well have penetrated her pussy. Interior muscles clenched and heat surged. It was all she could do not to arch up into his caress as he rubbed her clit.

What they were doing was sacrilegious, dirty and filthy, desecrating the church. She knew she should have been ashamed, but that emotion had been burned out under the heat of Levi’s hand and her own curious lust. In her past, Marcella had been kissed and even touched, but never with such results. She’d never gotten warm and soft and wet, had never wanted a man to go back to the spot where his finger could trace designs directly over the peak that seemed to swell and pulse inside her underwear. She would have stopped anyone else long ago, but Levi was different.

What should have been wrong felt so right. A dark little devil inside her head whispered that pleasure was a gift she should accept. It told her the experience would make her decision to join the Sisters easier, a comparison between what her faith demanded for her future and what her body could feel in the moment. She would finally know what she’d be giving up. Her rational self struggled to shut that voice up, but her body and heart rebelled. What Levi did felt too good to stop.

He pushed his finger under the elastic edge of Marcella’s underwear. Her muscles tensed just in time to keep her from arching off the pew, her thighs jerked and her fingers caught Levi’s wrist. He made a low, rough noise that told her he knew exactly what he was doing and how it made her feel. He knew the temptation battering her better than she did and understood that her body wouldn’t let her stop until it achieved the goal he’d set before it.

Marcella loosened her hold on his wrist and let him continue.

Levi is available on Kindle Unlimited

kindle

 

Sexy Authors of February

meet them sa

Get to know these amazing authors!

Representing the diversity that makes the Erotica genre so fantastic, these interviews should not be missed. Filled with exclusives, bonus material, teasers and even a few secrets…

mamini

M. A. Stacie is never without a book or her eReader. A voracious reader, with a love of sexy, yet angst ridden novels, she loves getting lost in new worlds.

Read the rest of M.A.’s interview on Always Sexy

lucymini

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name.

Read the rest of Lucy’s interview on Always Sexy

alexamini

Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions. Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction, she ventured into original writing. She is currently owned by two mad cats and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

Read the rest of Alexa’s interview on Always Sexy

ltmini

Emerging author, Lauren Shade, known by her pen L.T. Shade, lives in tropical Miami, Florida. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, watching really cheesy romantic comedies, overdosing on Cuban coffee, and hanging out with her amazing partner and her American Cocker Spaniel, Albie.

Read the rest of L.T.’s interview on Always Sexy

Thanks to these amazing authors for letting me interview them!

Follow the links to read their unique posts.

Happy Release Day to Jenna Fox!

I was given the privilege of reading this story before anyone else. My Critique Partner, Jenna Fox, has crafted a billionaire story that will leave the masses swooning. Dark, dangerous and desperately tempting, this tale is an emotional roller coaster, one typical of all Jenna’s story. With the second part out today, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Taffi and Sullivan will leave you breathless.

BOUND FOREVER

Pleasing the Manwhore, book 2

by Jenna Fox

Continue reading

Michelle Dare – The Pine Forest

One touch, one spark, two lives forever changed.

Pine and Azure. The war between the two kingdoms lasted far too long. Peace was finally established, but the survivors would never forget who fought on the front lines. Oliver Sage had a reputation for being a ruthless knight. He’d seen enough death to last a lifetime and worked on putting the past behind him, although not all would let him forget.

Addison was the only daughter of King and Queen Azure. With three brothers, she knew she’d always be protected, but she also wanted to learn how to take care of herself. She was strong, had a good heart, and wanted to be treated as an equal. Magical abilities ran in her family, and she had one no one knew of.

Oliver had given his heart to one princess, until the night he dreamed of another. Addison was the last woman he should desire, especially given who she was. However, what if she wanted him as well? They’d hated each other their entire lives, but suddenly couldn’t resist the desire which built between them. There were also those who didn’t think they should be together. Forbidden romance could only stay hidden for so long in the dark depths of the Pine Forest.

Amazon US I Amazon UK I B&N I iBooks I Kobo

Book One

Amazon US I Amazon UK I B&N I iBooks I Kobo

Michelle Dare is a romance author. Her stories range from sweet to sinful and from new adult to fantasy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to write all of the story ideas in her head. When not writing or reading, she’s a wife and mom living in eastern Pennsylvania. One day she hopes to be writing from a beach where she will never have to see snow or be cold again.

Sexy Authors of January

meet them sa

 

Get to know these amazing authors! Representing the diversity that makes the Erotica genre so fantastic, these interviews should not be missed. Filled with exclusives, bonus material, teasers and even a few secrets…

kayleigh mini

Kayleigh Sky is a m/m erotic romance writer. Kayleigh’s stories are tales of struggle and pain, loss and despair. Love is won in the battle to rise out of the depths of darkness. Victory is in the sweet bliss of happily ever after.

Read the rest of Kayleigh’s interview on Always Sexy

creemini

 

My name is Cree Nations and I have been writing for a very long time. I have two great sons, and six wonderful grandchildren. Life is good. I was born in East Texas and have lived in Texas for the majority of my life. I write fiction – contemporary romance/crime/mystery, erotica and poetry.

Read the rest of Cree’s interview on Always Sexy

katmini

 

Kat Crimson uses her wit and wiles to infiltrate the minds of her characters creating a new wave of cerebral erotica, which engages the brains, the hearts and the loins of her readers in equal measure, adding depth and dimension to what has, in the past, widely been considered to be a genre comprised only of talentless perverts. Simply not true.

Read the rest of Kat’s interview on Always Sexy

conormini

 

Conor Corderoy was born in London, but his parents, whom he describes as ‘bohemians’, moved to Ibiza when he was two. He grew up on Formentera, the smallest of the Balearic Islands, bare-foot, wild and uncombed. He has a cat called Cato and he thinks he might live high on a mountain in the south of Spain, but he isn’t sure.

Read the rest of Conor’s interview on Always Sexy

 

Thanks to these amazing authors for letting me interview them! Follow the links to read their unique posts.

Readers, Reviews and Reliance

First, let’s get this out of the way. I have a hard time getting reviews. I’m not holding onto any sour grapes about that, though it’s sometime frustrating. I also appreciate every blogger, reviewer and reader who reads, and especially the ones who review. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

That being said…

When I was growing up, an avid reader, always at the library or a bookstore, literally filling shelves and bags/boxes/whatever I could find to hold my haul, I don’t remember reading a single review. Maybe there was a blurb on the cover by an author I maybe heard of. Maybe. I didn’t care, because their opinion wasn’t what I based my purchase on.

I read the back cover of the book. I looked at the first chapter. Sometimes I flipped to the last chapter…I know, that’s terrible. But that’s how I made my decision. I didn’t ask my friends if they’d read it, hell, most of my friends don’t even read picture magazines today, let alone torrid romances when they were teenagers. And I found great books. A few I didn’t like, but generally I loved every book I bought or borrowed.

Now we have online places where other people give us their opinions of a book like we’re all shopping for vacuum cleaners. Does it suck, or doesn’t it? What’s funny is, I’ve never bought a book based on a good review, but I did buy a book based on a bad review—K.F. Breene’s Darkness series and I have bought every single book…all because a reader mentioned a rape whistle in a 1 star review. It made me curious.

Michelangelo-David

How’s that for perverse? Or maybe this…How would you rate Michelangelo’s David? One star for the penis, you trolls? Or 5 stars for the determination of the artist and the beauty of the male form carved into solid rock?

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci

How would you rate Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa? 1 star because she looks like a bitch, or 5 stars because the painting itself is a magnetic piece of artwork that draws you toward the mystery of the lady’s smile?

That is perverse in a way, right? How can you tell me what artwork I would like? Let me clarify this whole post right now—I have no issue with anyone giving their honest opinion about art, and that most definitely includes any piece of literature, no matter what genre it might be. You didn’t like a story? I’m fine with that. But don’t you think it’s a little weird when other people read the review and think, ‘Whew, glad I dodged that bullet. That character sounds whiney…Not gonna get that one.’

Grammar, okay, I get that. When a review says something like ‘This was really hard to get into because of all the spelling mistakes…’ I know to check out the sample (because let’s face it, some of those people who reviewed wouldn’t know good spelling if the dictionary smacked them in the face). Something like that is very helpful, though. Your opinion, however, should not influence mine.

Let’s take A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I hated that book. I hated the story, the characters, the settings, the long-windedness…but the ending of that book is, in my opinion, the greatest ending in literary history. Les Miserables is my second all-time favorite novel, EVER. Loved it…and hated The Hunchback of Notre Dame (same author) with a passion that kept me from finishing it to this day. Oh, and I adore Stephen King, except I’ve been unable to finish Pet Semetary every one of the ten times I’ve tried to read it, and I never can get past the first chapter of Salem’s Lot. Should my opinion tell you whether or not you like the story? No, you better read it for yourself.

What if the author is going for some theme that no one else, or few others, picks up on? Does that mean the author’s intent is wrong or unimportant? My own book, My Stranger, was written as an erotic horror. It was written to be uncomfortable, it was written to get the reader hot and then leave them wondering what the hell was wrong with them that they would go off with AJs stranger too…Because I know you would. You know how I know? It’s an almost-true story, based on questions that came up after a woman left her children behind (in that culture, she wasn’t allowed to take them) to live with a man who gave her sexual pleasure because her husband didn’t. And, also, because I was a juror on a case where the girlfriend swore her boyfriend gave her permission to cheat, though he denied it. Inspiration comes from strange places…

My Stranger - 2000x3000Never underestimate the power of a good orgasm. They can be life changing. They can make you stupid. To me, AJs decision at the end was the horror, but no one else saw it that way, in fact, the majority of readers who have reviewed spoke of the ‘mystery’ I’d never intended and labeled the book romance. I went with it because that’s what stood out to them, I suppose… Or maybe they’d already had a preconceived notion of what the story was before ever starting it. And how did that happen? Reviews, perhaps? (you can read the wide variety of them on Amazon or Goodreads)

That’s the beauty of books, the beauty of art—it’s subjective. No two people read the same thing or see the same thing or hear the same thing.

So why does your enjoyment of the story have anything to do with mine? How many times did a movie get rave reviews, but it sucked? Or vice versa. How many books have you picked up based on a bad review and fallen in love with? Or, ahem, vice versa.

You know why reviews are so damned important now? Because Amazon said so. There are perks for getting reviews and a fake sense of competition to foster consumer spending sprees. Because online book promo companies won’t take your book without a certain amount of 4 and 5 star reviews. Seriously, reviews should be a checklist of yes or no answers rather than an opinion column: Was it well written, was it entertaining, would you recommend it to a friend, and then stars can be generated based on those answers.

Hmmm, let’s get to a point, shall we? Every week I do a writing advice column, but this week I’m doing a reader’s advice column. Figure it out for yourself, not just because I don’t get a lot of reviews, but because no one else can tell you what you’ll enjoy. You might agree with 90% of something a reviewer might say, and therefore it seems natural to buy accordingly in this overcrowded marketplace…but that 10% region where your taste and the reviewers diverge can be a glorious, thought-provoking, entertaining place.

But you’ll never know unless you try…

Cream Will Rise

The world is in flux right now. All over the planet, various governments, nation-states and peoples are…well I could make a list, but we all know, the issues have dominated world headlines for a long time already, and I have limited space. Besides, this is about books, not world affairs.

Except…

Authors play a really important role in society. Throughout history, we’ve written truth in a way people found relatable, we’ve fought for change in ways people could empathize with and we’ve warned of factors detrimental to society, whether or not the message was received. We’ve been banned and exalted, we’ve been mocked and admired. We’ve been limited, and we’ve been given free rein to expand however we wanted.

We’ve come through a golden age of literature, and are now hurtling into a faux-competitive unenlightenment period where prices are lowering and trolls are increasing. There might even be new limits on what we can write soon—new censorship. I suppose there’s always backlash against an economic revolution, and that’s exactly what we’ve been experiencing, in terms of authorship and literature. The evolution from traditional publishing to self-publishing. We’ve gone from too few books in the marketplace to too many, both limiting in their own ways, and with new regimes coming to power, who knows what other restrictions may soon apply.

And where am I going with this? Most people consider books a luxury item, and technically they are. Food, water, shelter—those are the necessities. Books, toilet paper, soap—those are luxury items. So why are we paying more money than ever for certain luxury items, and yet book prices continue to fall?

blog

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a person willing to pay a fair price for a good story. It might even surprise you to know that some people out there refuse to pay for a book, and they never have to, thanks to various programs, author incentives, etc. But plenty of other people have posted on this topic already, so what is my point?

 

In the First World, which is where most of us reading this live, we are moving toward a new era. Everybody has their own theories, and God knows I’m no economist, but I see a trend toward artisanship, a return to personal touches and fantastic customer service. Big chain stores are great for some things, but we’re willing to pay more for something special, something handcrafted, something of quality.

With the world in flux, truth becomes its own commodity, as does fiction, entertainment and escapism. Everything you find in a book. This is why authors are so important—in every genre—and many of us are crafting quality items to serve a grand role and not getting much in return, and not just financially. Books push us past our boundaries, they give us the world, a new understanding of ourselves, they help us empathize…the list goes on.

And yes, I believe this is true of erotica, as well. Erotica, which has always been under attack, digs into the human psyche in ways that make many people uncomfortable, laying bare secrets and desires, needs we’re too afraid to admit to. That’s why this genre has always been as censored as it has—not because of nakedness and sex, but because ‘obscene’ has always secretly included ‘things that make you ashamed of yourself.’ With the explosion of Erotica into the light, people finally understand that their ‘deviance’ probably isn’t so deviant, after all.

With all these changes in the world—political, social and economic, we must adapt, as artisans and businessmen. So, my point is, predictions have been made that prices will now begin to race to the bottom, and to some degree, they will. But the cream will rise, as it always does. If you, as a reader, want quality books, you will pay for them, and we, as authors committed to giving you quality books will work ever harder to provide you with entertainment worthy of your time and money. Not every book will be for every person, but the craftsmanship inside the covers will excel to new heights.

A very smart woman I know recently pointed out the difference between a writer and an author. Her definition has to do with honing your craft, and that goes hand-in-hand with my point above, that authors play a very important role in society. I plan to accept that challenge, and I think the majority of readers will, too.

Sexy Authors of December

meet them sa
Get to know some new-to-you authors! These interviews ended up being as different as the women who gave them, with bonus material, exclusive content, excerpts, teasers and even a secret or two…

elyzashort

 

Considered weird by normal standards – what is normal anyway? – Elyzabeth M. VaLey enjoys making up songs about mundane things, doodling stars and flowers on any blank sheet of paper, talking to her Lab whenever he feigns interest and coming up with love stories to make readers dream.

You can read Elyzabeth’s interview on Always Sexy

fabergeshort

 

Available for musical soirees at the drop of a hat, I write steamy SF romances while waiting for a set of replacement dilythium crystals for the broken warp core on the ship.

You can read Faberge’s interview on Always Sexy

aniseshort

 

A Southern transplant, Anise is married with children. She has a love of football, shoes, and tall, dark heroes. When not spending time with family or traveling, she can be found either curled up with a good book or writing.

You can read Anise’s interview on Always Sexy

gloriashort

 

Gloria Herrmann is a women’s romantic fiction author living in beautiful eastern Washington. All of her books have been set in Washington, and she is eager to share how gorgeous her state is with readers.

You can read Gloria’s interview on Always Sexy

Thanks to all these amazing authors for letting me interview them!